Last weekend we did an opening of a wheel of Comte. But what exactly is Comte? Comte is a raw cow's milk cheese from France. It is an AOC ( Appellation d'Origine Controlee) regulated cheese (since 1976) which places restrictions on how and where the cheese is made.
- The milk must be transported immediately after milking to the place of production. If the milk is refrigerated and kept at 57-65F renneting must be done within 14 hours. If the milk is at 39F, within 24 hours or 36 in the winter.
- The milk may be heated once to a temperature of 104F, but only at the renneting stage. Any machinery that would allow the milk to be heated to that temperature before the renneting stage aren't even allowed to be on the property.
- The salt must be applied to the surface of the cheese directly or with brine.
- The green label must be applied to the side of the cheese, and bear the date of production
- Grated cheese may not be sold as Comte.
The bands on the side indicate the score that the cheese has gotten. Comte is graded on a 1-20 scale. The categories are overall appearance, rind quality, appearance of the cut, quality of the paste, and quality of taste. The cheese must score above a 12 inorder to be Comte. If is gets a score lower than that it is labeled Gruyere. A score of 12-15 gets a red label. A score of 15-20 (like the cheese we carry here at Pastoral) gets a green label.
Alison and her lovely assistant Shawn triumphantly show off a freshly cracked Comte!